SALEM, OR – When natural disasters occur, it is common for some people to try to take advantage of survivors by posing as official disaster aid workers trying to help survivors complete their applications.
Scam attempts can be made over the phone, by mail, email, text or in person. Survivors of the Oregon wildfires should be aware of scams and report any suspicious activity or potential fraud from scam artists, identity thieves and other criminals.
Federal and state workers never ask for, or accept, money and always carry identification badges. There is no fee required to apply for, or to get, federal disaster assistance. There is never a fee for FEMA home inspections.
During each disaster, it’s important to stay tuned to local media and trusted local and federal social media for current updates about ongoing disasters and tips on fraud prevention.
If something makes you feel uncomfortable, check with FEMA or local law enforcement to ensure your identity is protected.
Those who question the validity of a contact, or suspect fraud, are encouraged to call the FEMA Disaster Fraud Hotline at 866-720-5721. Complaints also may be made by contacting local law enforcement.
FEMA also recommends you monitor your credit report for any accounts or changes you do not recognize. If you discover someone is using your information, you will need to take additional steps, to include filing a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission through its website IdentityTheft.gov.
Tips to protect against charity scams and a list of registered charitable organizations are available at: https://www.doj.state.or.us/charitable-activities/
Sign up for scam alerts at: https://www.doj.state.or.us/consumer-protection/scam-alert-network/.
Disaster recovery assistance is available without regard to race, color, religion, nationality, sex, age, disability, English proficiency or economic status. If you or someone you know has been discriminated against, call FEMA toll-free at 800-621-FEMA (3362) 711/VRS - Video Relay Service). Multilingual operators are available. (Press 2 for Spanish). TTY call 800-462-7585.